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Paper info: Political and Business Interaction among Small Firms in the European Union


Political and Business Interaction among Small Firms in the European Union


Anna Bengtson
Uppsala University
Anna Bengtson , Cecilia Pahlberg and Firouze Pourmand

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.


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The large majority of firms are small enterprises. In the European Union they account for 99 %, and politicians are increasingly emphasising their importance for job creation, technological development and prosperity. Consequently, the political focus is on these firms and a large number of decisions influencing their business activities are constantly taken by political actors at various levels. However, research on the role of political actors and their impact, both in the IMP-setting and other, has sofar mainly focused on MNCs (multinational companies). Our attempt in this paper is to bring some knowledge on SME's (small and medium sized enterprises) behaviour towards political actors and the effect of that behaviour on their business relationships. In this discussion, the role of intermediaries is also included.Previous studies have shown that small firms have been obliged to follow the coercive political decisions of the EUs political units. In this paper we indicate that there might be some changes in the interaction patterns in favour for political support to and influence by small firms. Using a theoretical network framework, we relate the possibilities to influence to knowledge and commitment. The paper is based on early research findings in a research project that was started in 2006. Some general statements concerning SMEs' role and interaction patterns within the political context of the EU will be high lightened and further discussed using a case study approach.